The Home Stretch

8monthspreg

I just fell over laughing at this comparison.

First, I apparently gave up with Eddie and Charlie by this point. Was I living in jammies or what? I mean, I look homeless in the Eddie shot.

Secondly each tummy is progressively bigger…like it’s giving up a little with each pregnancy. It’s all “look how cute and small I still am” with Eddie and now with Alice it’s all “ugg. dude. get it OVER with already.”

It’s also funny to me that I have a helper in the Charlie photo because look:

2015-01-21 17.48.33

Yup, Charlie was all sorts of excited to help me out with the Alice picture!

So I’m officially in the 8th month of my last pregnancy. Suddenly all the “Alice Will Be Here Soon” things are starting to happen: My sub for the rest of the school year has been hired. My 12 weeks off has been approved and put in the system. I have done a load of baby laundry. We have a lot of the infant stuff located. We even have some diapers and a stockpile of formula.

We need to put the car seat bases into our vehicles which may be a bit of a puzzling challenge with the other two 5-point harness seats in there already, but we will make it work.

We need to dust off the swing and the bounce seat.

I have a colleague who is generously giving us their rock n play for Alice to use, and we probably should get some more baby pants and socks and hats.

We need to find the bottles and wash them.

We should probably get serious about organizing what the heck we are doing with school pick up and such while I am still healing from surgery. I thought about making some freezer meals, but we all know I don’t have time for that. I will just accept whatever comes our way and ask Cortney to pick me up a taco the other times.

I am starting to feel the need to reduce everything extraneous from our schedule and prepare to hunker down in the baby daze. I am excited to have that small bundle in my arms rather than kicking my butt…from the inside.  I want all the things in my house clean, but I also want all the naps to be mine.

And there is that wee small part of me that realizes that this is the beginning of the end.

No more pregnancies after this. 98% of me says THANK GOODNESS! That tiny 2% of me is like “aw”.

We are in that home stretch of reaching brand new territory.  Only one more monthly photo to go before show time!

Friends with Netflix

StreamTeamBadge (1)

There has been a lot going on in the house of Sluiter lately. It seems like every day is packed and hurried with getting up, getting dressed, getting out of the house, work, school, pick up, dinner, baths, jammies, homework, stories, bedtime. REPEAT.

We have had little time to squeeze any extras in our days even though extras (like colds and coughs and fevers) keep popping up.

When we do get a moment with nothing going on, it’s nice to have a favorite mindless activity to fall back on. I’m not ashamed (nor do I think I am alone) to admit that we love TV in our house.  Most of the time the boys take over the TV via Netflix. We have watched so much Curious George (thanks to Charlie’s current obsession) that Eddie is now reciting lines with the show…from another room.

If Eddie gets a chance to choose the shows, he usually goes with Batman or Woody Woodpecker (confession: I hate that show) or Scooby Doo. But recently he’s watched {the old} Annie too. Although he told me the other day that anytime anyone says anything about Annie, someone else will break out singing “Tomorrow”, and that gives him a headache since there are better songs in the movie. Ha!

I rarely get time alone with Netflix, but when I do, I cram as many episodes of Friends in as I can.

Friends

When I heard Friends was coming to Netflix I almost died of excitement. It’s probably one of my most favorite shows of all time. Cortney does not love it, and it’s not appropriate for the boys to watch, so if I want to watch it, it has to be when I am alone. This happens almost never.  But I am persevering! I started with Season 1, the way a good fan would and I am on episode 8 out of 24, so yeah. Not very far. But in a few weeks Alice and I have plans to watch the rest of the series together. I thought I would be nice and wait for her, so she can watch too.

Are you a Friends addict like I am? What shows will you watch over and over again?

**************

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and was given a year of Netflix and a device to view it on. All opinions and experiences are those of my family and me.

9 Things I Wonder About Other Writers

While I was reading blogs–yes, I still do that–I came across this post by my friend Alison, which was inspired by Kristen. I really liked it.

I have been thinking a lot about that label “writer” lately. Are “blogger” and “writer” synonymous? I suppose so. I tell my students that if you write, you are a writer. However I think there is a difference between “writer” and “capital ‘W’ Writer”.

I definitely consider myself a writer (well, a Teacher-writer, if you want to be specific), but a Writer? I’m not sure.  I don’t think being published means you are automatically a Writer. I think there is more to it than that, but I haven’t figured out what. In the meantime, here are my answers to some interesting questions.

plathquote

 

1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet?

Yes, always. Cortney reads my blog regularly and I send him almost every draft of something I am going to submit for publication elsewhere. He is my biggest cheerleader in anything I do and really pushes me to go to the next level in teaching, learning, and writing. I smiled when I read that Stephen King also has his wife read everything he writes.

2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it? 

Most of my readers are people I know “in real life”. My mom is probably second after Cortney in being my support. She doesn’t always agree with what I have written, but she proudly shares it with everyone and encourages me to keep writing.

My friends and other family members read it from time to time–when they see me post on Facebook and the topic interests them. Many members of my church have become readers, as well as some of my colleagues. Our church library even has one of the books I was published in on its shelves.

I’ve always been deeply honored when people I know tell me they read my writing and enjoy it. It’s also very humbling when former students, people I went to high school with, or past co-workers either approach me “in real life” or reach out via email or Facebook to tell me they enjoy what I write.  That keeps me going.

3. What do you do with the pieces that continually get rejected–post on your blog? Trash? When do you know it’s time to let it go?

The pieces that I have had rejected are either posted to my blog or kept for something else. I never know what I could revise and use again.

Rejection has taught me about who I am as a writer though, and what sorts of publications are more important to me than others. I find that I don’t fit many of the places that other bloggers find success submitting to. I don’t fit the mold that many places like the Huffington Post, Mamalode, etc are looking for.

While I do write about motherhood, most of those essays get rejected, and I’ve become Ok with that. I don’t naturally write beautiful, flowy pieces about being a mom. When I do, it’s usually something that just happens by chance.

The writing I get most recognition for are my opinion pieces and my posts on education. In fact, I’ve been published twice now in academic journals, and that is probably what I am most proud of.

4. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else?

I don’t think I have ever just “let go” of a piece. If it didn’t start as something here on my blog, I will publish it here in some embodiment of it’s original whether I have to make it more “blog friendly” if it was academic, or revise it down to fit the attention span of blog readers.

5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?

I read a ton. I take very seriously Stephen King’s idea that if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.  I like to read books on the craft of writing, but I also just like to spend time with good writing–a good book that I can fall into for awhile. I get inspired by good writing.

I also try to read books on teaching pedagogy so I can stay abreast of best practice teaching. This leads me to try new things in my classroom and to write about it here (like I did with Reader’s Workshop and not assigning homework). I also read academic journals which both inspire me as a teacher and writer, but also give me ideas of what I can write about.

I like to read blogs as well. Lately I have been reading lots of political blogs and opinion blogs (but not the comment sections!)

6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?

I think it’s equal parts experience and reading especially my teaching/writing posts and essays.  It’s hard to write about something you don’t experience, but reading really motivates me to write.

7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so under-appreciated?

I think young adult literature is often under-appreciated. I know I never thought of it as “literature” until I started reading a TON of it over the past year in preparation for implementing a Reader’s Workshop in my classroom.  When I was the age my students are now, what I had available to me with teen protagonists was hardly good writing. Now I find myself spellbound by authors like Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, and John Green.  I don’t think you have to have teenagers or teach them to fall in love with these books.

8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?

I think it depends on the kind of writing you love to do. I appreciate Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, but I also read a lot of “shop lit” (books about teaching writing) by Kelly Gallagher, Kylene Beers, Katie Wood Ray, Penny Kittle, and many others.

I also think sometimes reading authors that inspire your writing is sort of like reading a “craft book”. For instance I am largely influenced by Hemingway’s writing style of using very few words to convey very large ideas, but other than his posthumously published A Moveable Feast –which is more memoir than writing direction–there is not much writing advice he gives. I think many Writers don’t claim to know what will work for everyone; they only know what will work for themselves.

While I enjoy a good “craft” book, I don’t lean on them for a direct “Here is How to be a Capital “W” Writer” so much as I glean suggestions and ideas from them.

9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax? 

Nope. No regrets. There have been a piece or two that I didn’t think was my best writing, but I don’t regret that it’s out there.  There are also pieces that I put out there that people read into in a way I didn’t expect, but again, I am not regretful or upset that I pushed “publish” or “send” on those pieces because they started conversations.

I’d love it if you answered a few of these. I’d also love it if you shared what YOU wonder about other writers too.

Out With The Old

Well, well, well 2014. So you’re finally over, eh?

Can’t say I am too sad about that.

Don’t get me wrong; you had your high points. Actually, you started out super great!

You sent us a LOT of snow...which I hate, BUT it made for lots of fun snow days...which I love. And my district didn't have to make any up!

You sent us a LOT of snow…which I hate, BUT it made for lots of fun snow days…which I love. And my district didn’t have to make any up!

You brought the baptism of my little nephew, Ezra.

You brought the baptism of my little nephew, Ezra.

you encouraged me with some of the most lovely friends I could ever ask for.

you encouraged me with some of the most lovely friends I could ever ask for.

Charlie had his first haircut.

Charlie had his first haircut.

Charlie turned 2.

Charlie turned 2.

I turned 36 with this crazy crew.

I turned 36 with this crazy crew.

We took Eddie to Chicago for Spring Break.

We took Eddie to Chicago for Spring Break.

I went along on the Spanish Trip to Chicago and got to hang with these weirdos.

I went along on the Spanish Trip to Chicago and got to hang with these weirdos.

The world came out to help me build my classroom library.

The world came out to help me build my classroom library.

I said goodbye to my best year (and students) in my teaching career.

I said goodbye to my best year (and students) in my teaching career.

I was published and did a book reading with my biggest fans in the audience.

I was published and did a book reading with my biggest fans in the audience.

Eddie turned 5!

Eddie turned 5!

Cortney took a day off so we could take a family trip to the zoo.

Cortney took a day off so we could take a family trip to the zoo.

we grew a garden again.

we grew a garden again.

we took boat rides

we took boat rides

I got pregnant!

I got pregnant!

my nephew, Harrison, was born

my nephew, Harrison, was born

I went to BlogHer in California and was honored as a Voice of the Year.

I went to BlogHer in California and was honored as a Voice of the Year.

We visited Papa Steve.

We visited Papa Steve.

I ate these ribs.

I ate these ribs.

Eddie started Kindergarten.

Eddie started Kindergarten.

I started a new teaching position.

I started a new teaching position.

Eddie played soccer

Eddie played soccer

I was published again!

I was published again!

We found out we were having a GIRL!

We found out we were having a GIRL!

I presented about using Reader's Workshop at the MCTE conference.

I presented about using Reader’s Workshop at the MCTE conference.

I was published...AGAIN!

I was published…AGAIN!

Eddie learned to read and write.

Eddie learned to read and write.

This guy turned 36

This guy turned 36

My dad retired after 46 years with the same company.

My dad retired after 46 years with the same company.

We celebrated Christmas

We celebrated Christmas

Behind these pictures though, somewhere in June, a deep sadness set in. There were a lot of unknowns going on, disappointments, and changes that I didn’t want to accept.

It’s hard because as I started inserting the pictures from June on, I felt the sadness all over. Graduation was my last truly happy photo.  I can see the forced smile on my face. I have so many blessings, but this year has been tough. Pregnancy is hard on me both physically and mentally. Change is hard for me…even when it’s good.

I am truly happy with the changes in our lives, but it’s still a ball of emotions for me.

So yes, I am excited for a new year. 2015, I’m looking at you. Please be kind to the Sluiter Family.

*************

BTW: if you usually find your way here via the Sluiter Nation Facebook page, you might want to go over there to my sidebar where it says “enter your email” and go ahead and do that. Facebook isn’t going to let me share links on my page anymore starting in January. ::cue sad trombone”

Caught in the Whirlwind

2014-12-14 14.38.36

This guy had a birthday 20 days ago and I feel sort of like a jerkstore for not mentioning it here. December was crazy busy and I clearly haven’t been writing as much as I would like, but that is no excuse. This guy is probably the #1 most important person in my life and I didn’t even mention his turning 36.

Yup, 36. Now he’s my age…until the end of March when I am his Old Lady again (something he would actually never call me because he’s not a butthole).

This year–just like every year–he has been all my cliches: my rock, my safe harbor, my home.

Over and over again he put my needs (and the needs of our kids) before his own wants. He held me when I fell apart. He held my  hand when I was scared. He reminded me that we are a team.

He knows what will truly make me smile.

He knows before I do when I am about to lose it.

He knows pregnancy is very hard on me and does not consider all the extra help he puts in to be “extra”.  He considers it just what you do when you are part of a team.

He holds my hand.

He teared up when he found out he was getting a daughter.

He changes 99% of the poopy diapers without complaint.

He vacuums.

He irons (sometimes).

He asks each of us “what do you need? how can I help?”

He does the heavy-lifting.

He is the most handsome man in the world.

I know he doesn’t always feel appreciated because I am too busy being anxious or mental, but not a day goes by that I don’t say a prayer of thanks for Cortney.

When I asked Eddie what we should get Daddy for his birthday/Christmas he said, “I don’t know,” but when I asked him what types of things daddy likes he said quickly, “Beer, Pearl Jam, and Michigan Football.”

He does a lot for this family and I hope he knows we notice. And love him. In fact, in the eleven years that we have been together, not a day has gone by that he has not made me smile.

Plus he gives the best, most healing hugs ever.

I’m sorry your birthday is always part of the whirlwind of this time of year, babe. I know your day was a happy one though, because Eddie picked you out that Indiana Colts beer glass with specific instructions that ONLY BEER go in the glass.

Win.

*************

BTW: if you usually find your way here via the Sluiter Nation Facebook page, you might want to go over there to my sidebar where it says “enter your email” and go ahead and do that. Facebook isn’t going to let me share links on my page anymore starting in January. ::cue sad trombone”

Growing a Sluiter

Because my blog went wonky for a few months, I haven’t been putting many pictures up. BUT that is FIXED! So I can finally share some bump photos.

I had my 28ish week OB appointment yesterday along with my glucose test (which I passed!  Woot!), and I am measuring at 30 weeks.  That is exactly how I was with both boys. I was was always measuring 2 weeks ahead by this time.

Check out all three pregnancies…

20weeks

So here we are at 20 weeks.

 

I would say that my level of caring what I looked like took the biggest dip with my Charlie pregnancy. Either that or I was just gross that pregnancy.

and 24-25 weeks depending on when I remembered to take the picture.

and 24-25 weeks depending on when I remembered to take the picture.

I don’t look as bad in that picture with Charlie. But I hated my hair. Never make a decision to chop off all your hair when you are pregnant.

and this is where I am with Alice now...the 28th week.

and this is where I am with Alice now…the 28th week.

These pictures crack me up because I can’t stop looking at how young and dumb I was when I was pregnant with Eddie. I had no idea what was coming. I know that sounds cliche, but I just didn’t.  And with Charlie I was already tired thinking about what he could be like as a newborn (Eddie was a colicky mess).

This time, as my OB says, I am a veteran. I know both the difficult and the easy things that could lie ahead. Because everything is looking great and exactly how I carried and measured with the first two, my OB has even spaced out my visits for me so that I don’t have to come in so often just to be measured. That means I only have maybe 5 more OB visits and then the C-section on March 6.

For those keeping track, that means I only have 10 more weeks left. Ten weeks from today will be my last day of teaching for this school year.

And then Alice will be here.

Our family will be complete.

Merry Netflix Christmas

This year I have been a bit of a slacker in the way of decorating for the holidays. Part of it is out of practicality. Charlie is two-and-a-half and while Eddie could go ahead and NOT TOUCH all the things at that age, Charlie is more of a destroyer of all the things. So. Many things that would go on display are simply not because Charlie.

There is also the fact that I can’t find my wreath for the door and it snowed so early around here that we never got the lights on the house.

And then there is just the “I’m pregnant and don’t want to” factor.

I don’t think my boys have noticed much though. We have a tree and the nativity scene and their stockings. We have made some cookies and they have both brought home countless Christmas crafts from school.

The boys have also been totally into all the Christmas episodes/movies of their favorite shows/characters.

2014-12-18 18.04.17

Of course Charlie has watched the Curious George Christmas movie somewhere around a zillion times. To be totally honest, this has been in rotation since they found it on Netflix this summer.

2014-12-18 20.25.51

Eddie has watched The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas, The Power Rangers Christmas episode (dude, what?), all of the Mickey Mouse Christmas specials, and the Veggie Tales St. Nicholas episode. And because he is sick and stuck on the couch, he is surfing for MORE Christmas stuff as I type this.

It’s pretty great to have these at our finger tips instead of having to scour TV show times (which are almost always past the boys bedtimes anyway).

Netflix also had a little hand in my holiday giving this year. As a Stream Team member, I was given two gift cards for one free year of Netflix each to give away. My immediate thought was teachers.

2014-12-18 17.18.13

As many of you know, this is my first year teaching at the Junior High rather than the High School. The transition could have been very difficult, but I was blessed with two classes where I team teach. The two special education teachers I teach with are some of the most talented, patient (with the students AND with me and my newbie status), kind people. I really hit the jackpot.

Special Ed teachers work harder than any of the rest of us since most of them have different classes every hour–some teaming with other teachers (across multiple curricula), some of their own in their own classrooms. On top of that they have more paperwork than anyone else in education. From medicare forms and IEPs and 504’s, to documenting accommodations and making parent meetings happen.

So when I was able to gift two people a free year of Netflix? They were who I thought of first.

Netflix has been a way for our family to sit together and watch great family programming, and I was happy to share that with them.

Happy Holidays!!

Disclaimer: This post was not compensated in any way. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and receive Netflix free of charge as well as a device to stream it on. Thought and opinions are all my own.

 

twenty-eight weeks, eleven to go

Dear Alice,

If everything goes ok and you and I both stay nice and healthy, we have eleven more weeks of you on the inside. At this time (9:04am) in eleven weeks, you will probably be here. Your brothers may already have met you.

Baby girl clothes have been showing up from friends who have older girls. Really cute hand-me-downs, and even a few new things have arrived in the mail. As I hold them I have all these mixed feelings. I’ll be honest with you, Alice. I am scared to be a “Girl Mom”.  It might be silly, but I feel like I don’t know how. All these dresses and cutesy things…they are so foreign to me. Tiny mary jane-style shoes and flowery shirts are a far cry from little man khakis and cardigan sweaters. I’m used to converse and bow ties. I’m used to dressing up tiny little men. I’m used to boys.

You are a little scary to me.

Daddy keeps reminding me that you are not going to be born an 8-year old with an opinion. That you will be a small cuddly baby who will need me to feed you, and change you, and cuddle you. That I know how to do all of those things very, very well. He is right, and I am very VERY much looking forward to those first couple months when it’s just you and me and time to be together.

But as I rock Charlie before bed, I look around the nursery. I imagine your name on the wall instead of his, your clothes hanging in the closet instead of his sweaters, your shoes lined up instead of his, the trucks put downstairs to make way for whatever you love. And it’s weird.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, the only things I put away from the nursery were things that said “Eddie” on them. Now I am also gathering up “boy stuff” to put in the “boy room” downstairs. I want a clean slate for you. It’s very possible you will also be in love with trains and trucks, and that is great! We have lots! But maybe you will love baby dolls and My Little Ponies, and I want the room to be ready for that too.

So it’s strange.

I’ve had two babies before you, but it’s feels like I am starting over from scratch. I feel that sense of not knowing what to expect all over again. In fact, I have been so nervous about it, I have refused to let go of the boy clothes I have in storage that Charlie has grown out of simply because…well…what if you’re NOT a girl?

I mean, I SAW the ultrasound. I know there are no boy bits. I know that. But something in my head just can’t wrap itself around a GIRL.

I want you to be here. I want you to be real. I want a daughter.

But I am afraid.

I hope it’s Ok to admit that to you.

Eleven more weeks and you will be on the outside, but still in my arms.

I’m very excited, Alice. Despite the nerves.

I promise.

I can’t handle it

I don’t really know what to do with my heart and brain. My jaw dropped yesterday when I saw the Eric Garner news. In retrospect I guess I should be shocked, but I was beyond shocked. I was nauseated.

Last week when I posted this, a simple short post about how I am an ally, there were people who used words like “thug” on Facebook to describe Michael Brown. My post was not about Michael Brown. It has a picture of my three-year old nephews and my two-year old son. You bet I took offense, and started un-friending people quickly, when they showed those kinds of responses to a peaceful post.

You guys? I am at a loss.  I simply do not understand anything that is going on.

A man was taken down by cops using an illegal move. His death was ruled a homicide. The entire murder was on video. The guy who did it, a white cop, doesn’t get charged at all. BUT the guy who shot the video? A Latino man? Gets charged on a gun felony even though he was unarmed during the incident.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how this can happen, and yet last night, as I am combing through Facebook, I see comments DEFENDING this ruling. Calling Garner a “thug” and saying if he hadn’t broken the law in the first place, he wouldn’t have to worry about the cops. They say it is the same as Michael Brown.

All I could do was blink.

And agree, that yes, it is similar to Michael Brown.

A cop took down an unarmed man and got away with it. Yup. Same.

The arguments that “he had it coming” or “if you obey it wouldn’t happen” piss me off in a way I can’t even describe. People say “well, he broke the law.”  So what?  I break the law when I speed every morning on my way to work. Every day I go 80 mph down the highway when the speed limit says 70. Have I gotten pulled over and ticketed? Yes. Do I continue to do it?  Yes.  So does that mean speeding is punishable by death at a cops hands next time?

You know what? Don’t even answer that. It’s a moot point because I am a thirty-something white lady who does not look like a “thug”. I don’t have to worry about this.

I have had students screw up and break the law over and over before getting clean and sober. Did they get arrested? Yes. Did they get killed by the cops? No. And in each case? I am thinking of a white kid. They don’t have this worry.

But you know who does? Members of my own family including my nephews some day. When  cop sees them, do you think they will know they have white parents who are in education and have multiple degrees?  Nope. They will see black men.

Studies show that by age SEVEN people begin to look at black males as more threatening than white males. SEVEN YEARS OLD. That is a third grader.

Eric Garner “looked” threatening to the cop because he was a large black man.

That is eff-ed up, yo.

And you know what, take race out of it for a minute (although I think it has EVERYTHING to do with race). HE WAS UNARMED.

What is it going to take for the American public to wake the heck up? What will it take for us to say, “No. Stop. This isn’t right”?

WHAT WILL IT TAKE?

Because obviously even a video of a homicide doesn’t do it.

My heart and mind are so confused.  I just don’t understand how people–people who are good people–can be so blind and racist. How can that exist in the same person?  I have unfriended people on Facebook that up until now, I could handle having differing opinions on most political things. But this? This is a deal breaker.

Using racist language like “thug” and making sweeping statements about how law breakers “deserve” to get 12 bullets pumped in them or suffocated to death is something I can’t tolerate. I even saw someone compare Eric Garner to a sick dog that needed to be put down. Just typing that makes me want to vomit.

Last night Eddie and I had an issue. In the end, he told me he didn’t like me, didn’t care about me, and didn’t care about the treat I promised him (in place of doing something else that we couldn’t do). He threw a fit. Once we got home, he still expected the treat and I said, “No. You called me mean. You said you didn’t like me. You said you didn’t care about the treat. Forget it then.”  He pouted. Then after putting on his pj’s he came over to read his nightly homework to me. I said, “Nope. Read to your dad tonight.” He asked me why and I told him, “Because you don’t like me or care about me. My feelings are hurt.”  He was devastated. After about 10 minutes, we talked about why he was crying and he admitted that it felt awful to have someone not care about you.  Of course we made up and all is fine.

But he had to feel what his words felt like. What they did to my heart.

Our issue is a far cry from making a statement that an unarmed man deserved to die, but it all boils down to a lack of empathy.

I don’t understand how people can say things without thinking about other people’s feelings and experiences. How can we lack even the most basic empathy for other human beings?

And I should point out that I am NOT anti-cop. Some of my great friends are the spouses of cops. People I went to high school with and greatly respect are cops. This is not me saying police officers are evil.  This is about me saying something in our minds is evil. Something is messed up when authority figures can KILL unarmed citizens and that is Ok.

That is not Ok. That is not what we want to perpetuate or encourage in this country, is it?  That we are a police state that deems any law breaker punishable by death on the spot? It’s not what I want.

If this post offends you, or you feel like writing a scathing comment about how these men deserved to die somehow, don’t. Just don’t. Just quit reading my blog right now. If we are friends on Facebook, just quietly unfriend me.

Because I can’t tolerate this anymore.

The faces I see are those of my students and my family. MY FAMILY.

My heart simply cannot handle the hate.

Every Child, Every Day

I spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s kids and whether or not they are reading, what they are reading, and if they are choosing things that are right for them.

In the first 10 minutes of class, my students are busy writing in their journals and getting their independent reading books out. Every day. I spend that 10 minutes walking around making sure every child has written something and has something to read. Every day. In fact, today during first hour I wrote three passes to the media center, had four kids check out books from my library, and conferenced with two kids who were having trouble getting started.  This is pretty typical for all of my hours.

I spend a large chunk of every day focused only on other kids’ reading.

*************

Last night, Eddie read a whole book to me.

A REAL book, not just one of his “just right library” books that says things like, “I see a dog,” and “I see a cat” on each page.  He read me, cover to cover, one of the Elephant and Piggie books, My Friend is Sad. If you know those books, you know they rely heavily on HOW you read the book too, and Eddie rocked it out. I spent a lot of time watching him rather than looking at the pages he was reading.

I was amazed.

My baby…ok, my oldest, but still…my BABY was READING a real BOOK.

And he loved it.

He didn’t fill out a reading log afterward (although school does send home a calendar each month and if you read for 20 minutes each day–and color in the days accordingly–you get a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Not really my philosophy of creating readers, but Eddie does it for the joy of reading right now, and I am letting that just flow) or make a diorama. Instead he goes back to the cover and exclaims that the book is pretty funny and maybe the book fair will have more Elephant and Piggie books to choose from.

*************

Today when I pick Eddie up he will have two new books from a book order and whatever he chose at the book fair. He was still going back and forth about Skippy John Jones or Pete the Cat this morning as I hugged him goodbye, so I am eager to find out what he chose…what we will be reading together tonight.

I know he will keep the books out of his backpack and he’ll be holding them in his hand when I get to school.  I know he will smile and run when he sees me, waving the books to tell me what he bought. I know he will “take a picture walk” through them in the car to decide which one we should read first.

*************

Every time Eddie and I sit to read, I think about my students. How many of them were this ravenous about reading when they were in Kindergarten? How many of those kids “lost” that desire…and when did it happen?

Did those kids get a chance to read every single day like Eddie does?  Like I try to give them now?

I follow Richard Allington’s wordsEvery child, every day. This includes not just my students, but my own kids as well.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...